PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — Dozens of people came together in a Cheverly park Saturday evening to share one message, stop anti-Asian racism. While also acknowledging the pain members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are feeling, and have felt for years.
“I was born and raised here. A lot of the microaggressions that I've experienced in my life have been so normalized that you just really don't speak up about it anymore,” Cheverly Councilmember Amy Fry said.
Fry organized Saturday's event and said she hopes people feel encouraged not to stay silent.
The nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate recently released a report that revealed cases of discrimination across the country. There were 3,795 incidents from March 2020 to February 2020, according to the report.
“These things have been happening and it's just that they're happening in record numbers now and we're actually reporting them,” Fry said. “So that's the big thing is telling community like if something happens you have to report it, no matter how small or how big it is.”
Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy was at Saturday's rally and said she wants people to know if people do report a hate crime, she will take action.
“We have a strong Asian community here in Prince George's County and we want to let them know that we stand with them and we understand the pain. As a Black person in America, I understand the pain when you are being targeted because of your race, because of your ethnicity, I understand that pain,” Braveboy said.
Braveboy led the fight to pass a Maryland bill that gives prosecutors enhanced tools to hold perpetrators of hate crimes accountable. She said if hate crimes occur in Prince George’s County she will take action.
“We are standing with our Asian brothers and sisters and letting them know that we will be here for them, that we will seek justice for them, and that if they are targeted here in our communities let us know. The justice system is here to support everyone, and in particular at times like this,” Braveboy said.
The message to the community comes as a time when people said they are concerned and fearful themselves or a loved one could become the next target.
“Just thinking about if I send my mom to the store what may happen when she goes there, or when my kids go back to school one day how will they be looked at,” Fry said.